I’m currently working with a doctor and a nutritionist on my skin health. I know it sounds very drastic to be doing this, but I’ve reached a point in my life where I just cannot seem to deal with my skin woes: acne and eczema. I honestly think that, that’s not how our skin should look like.
As mentioned before, I’m also done with taking medication to attempt to fix the superficial issues without addressing the underlying cause. So, with that in mind, I’ve undergone a huge battery of tests that now indicate a few things: I’m lactose intolerant and I’m also short of certain vitamins that I had no idea about. It’s funny how I’ve done various blood tests of the years to detect for pollen allergy and virus issues but no doctor actually told me that I had way too little Vitamin D.
Of course it doesn’t help that what I ate when I was young and what I eat now are completely poles apart. It seems I’m also very stressed. Well, I know from time to time, I feel quite stressed but it seems I have low cortisol levels that make it quite hard for me to be energetic.
So the ‘treatment’ is a form of alternative treatment where you don’t take medication. Instead you take supplements while changing your diet. Healing yourself by eating the right food. Now you know what I’m getting at :)
I’ve been prescribed a new diet: no sugar, low carb, no bread, no pasta, no yeast, no fruit and no dairy. There are some exclusions, but they aren’t many. Today marks my 1 week being on this diet and all I can say is: It is so, so, hard. You’re probably thinking “Come on Fieran, where’s your optimism?”
The challenge here is that I’m a foodie, a real foodie. I can resist sugar and stuff – most of the time – but I get my happiness from visiting cafes, treating myself to good food at restaurants, trading hole-in-the-wall eateries with my friends, etc. I think, some days, when I’m travelling, my sole goal is to locate a particular restaurant and devour at last 2 dishes off their menu. (Which explains why I’m fat :)) When you give up your home to move to different countries, pieces of your personality and habits chip away, revealing a citizen of the world. You absorb other cultures, languages, traditions, environments – but there are a few things that you hold dearly and won’t compromise on. I think my food habits, not eating beef, and the English language are factors that I hold very dearly and won’t compromise on.
Unfortunately, the food habits part needs to change. This diet is known as the elimination diet where you eliminate types of food and see how your body reacts to it. It’s said to be like a form of restarting your system to get a clean slate before these types of food are added back into your diet, one by one, (provocation diet) to detect which type of food is causing an imbalance in the body – resulting in bad skin.
So the first thing I’ve done is to count the days. I have to be on this diet for 6 weeks. But I’m also going home to Malaysia next month which means a full trip to Malaysia not eating any real Malaysian food. *cue sad violin music*
The next thing I’ve done is to not eat at the office canteen. That’s actually the easiest thing to do as I figured if I don’t see normal food, I won’t miss it. The husband and I have been cooking extra food for dinner and refrigerating it for my lunch the next day. The husband is kind of following the diet to make things easier (thankfully) – cooking two different meals is quite cumbersome. But he eats whatever he likes at work. So I’m one of those people who walks around the office canteen with a Tupperware, reheating my meals in the microwave. Then I sit at my desk and eat a quiet lunch.
I pack all my snacks with me too – almonds, almond butter, walnuts, unsweetened soy, berries, Stevia, low carb bread (ordered from a local bakery here) and sometimes home made Bounty.
I won’t be able to eat at most restaurants for now – but there are two nice cafes around my office where I can get a good salad for lunch. I’ve been frequenting one of them recently but I need to explore the other one soon for variety sake.
I’ve also been on a hunt for different types of recipes – it’s amazing what you can find on the Internet. I plan to make these Lemon Poppyseed Muffins soon by substituting the sugar with Sukrin and the Shortening for Butter (a certain type available here (Meieriesmoer) that I’m allowed to eat small quantities of). Oh I also get to eat yoghurt and eggs which makes it even easier to bake.
I think the universe is asking me “How far will you go for good skin health?” and to that my answer is “Quite far. Try me.” So I’m being tested. Let’s see how I fare.